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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

4io        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

The Binet Tests have raised a good many difficult questions
both for the psychologists—who are by no means agreed as to
what " intelligence " is—and for the practical people who have
welcomed the Tests as aids to a precise knowledge of something
basic in human behaviour. Defects have become evident with
the use of them, and various revisions and modifications have
been made since Binet's time. Amidst the criticisms the fact
stands out that the method of gauging capacity by means of
tests has given teachers and all concerned with children a new
power of dealing with individuals, and provided a practical solution
for a whole range of problems hitherto unsolved. Binet designed
the scale of tests for the diagnosis of mental defect. The tests
have revolutionized the treatment not only of the mentally
defective, but of abnormal children in general. The first ap-
proach to an understanding of delinquents, unstable children,
children with special disabilities in learning, all the so-called
problem children, is now made through an estimate of their
intelligence. And great as is the service which capacity tests
have rendered in the treatment of difficult'children, their value
seems likely to prove even greater in application to normal
children. Vocational guidance already finds in the estimate of
intelligence one of its surest instruments, and an experimental
beginning has been made with more scientific grading of school
children on the basis of mental rather than of chronological age.
The tests in fact have brought nearer to reality the ideal of an
individualized education for every child.

Side by side with the development of Intelligence Tests there
has gradually been evolved a great number of standard tests for
the objective measurement of school achievements. It was in
America that the pioneer work in this direction was done. Dr.
J, M. Rice led the way as early as 1894, but his statistical methods
had the same imperfections as those of contemporary child
students. The real beginning with the scientific measurement of
educational work was made by Professor E. L, Thorndike by the
construction of a scale for the measurement of merit in hand-
writing in 1909. From that time to this there has been a steady
output from American educators of standard tests in reading,
counting, spelling and the other school subjects. The best of
these, though still admittedly imperfect, have been carefully
worked out, and they provide norms of attainment of substantial